December 16, 2016
Capitol Update

LAST ISSUE OF CAPITOL UPDATE FOR DECEMBER.
VISIT HTTP://PPEC.ASME.ORG/ FOR LATEST NEWS.

In this issue:


ENERGY DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES NEARLY $25 MILLION TO ENABLE INNOVATIVE ELECTRICAL MOTORS USED IN MANUFACTURING

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced nearly $25 million for 13 projects aimed at advancing technologies for energy-efficient electric motors through applied research and development. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Next Generation Electric Machines projects plan to address the limitations of traditional materials and designs used in electric motor components by improving efficiency and performance and reducing weight. Innovative approaches that will significantly improve the technology in industrial electric motors will also help companies who use these motors in manufacturing to save energy and money over the long run.
There were 13 projects selected by the EERE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. Of these projects, at least one of four topics will be addressed such as:

  • Manufacturing of high performance thermal and electrical conductors,
  • Manufacturing of low-loss silicon steel,
  • High temperature superconducting wire manufacturing, and,
  • Manufacturing of other enabling technologies to increase performance
Additional information can be found at:
http://energy.gov/eere/articles/energy-department-announces-nearly-25-million-enable-innovative-electrical-motors-used


THREE WAYS THE COMMERCE DEPARTMENT IS WORKING TO STRENGTHEN AMERICAN COMPETITIVENESS

Recently, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker spoke at a conference entitled “Shaping the American Competitiveness Agenda for the 21st Century.” She highlighted policies that the country needs to pursue to stay competitive, grow the economy, and generate opportunity for Americans. She emphasized three points: remaining engaged in trade, attracting foreign direct investments through programs such as SelectUSA, and promoting a strong rule of law and IP protections.

Secretary Pritzker also advised that the incoming administration build on the over 800,000 manufacturing jobs added the economy since 2010 by focusing on further investments in workers and infrastructure, such as more holistic workforce training that includes social services support when needed.

To read more, please visit:
https://www.commerce.gov/news/blog/2016/11/three-ways-commerce-department-has-strengthened-and-will-continue-strengthen


NIST CREATES NEW STANDARD TEST METHOD TO TRACK OBJECTS IN 3-D SPACE

A new standard will help optical trackers follow moving objects with more precision. This is important in areas involving robotics and guiding remote controlled lasers in order to define an object’s “pose” which involves up/down, right/left, forward/backward, pitch, yaw and roll. Determining the “pose” is much easier with a static object than one in motion.

Optical tracking systems work like the stereoscopic vision of a human where the person’s two eyes work together to simultaneously take in the surroundings and tell the brain exactly where all of the people and objects are within that space. With the optical tracking system, the “eyes” consist of two or more cameras that record the room and are partnered with beam emitters that bounce a signal—infrared, laser or LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging)—off objects in the area. With both data sources feeding into a computer, the room and its contents can be virtually recreated.

For more information, please visit:
https://www.nist.gov/news-events/news/2016/11/new-standard-helps-optical-trackers-follow-moving-objects-precisely


NIH EFFORT USES BIG DATA FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE SURVEILLANCE

A National Institutes of Health (NIH)- led effort with access to big data from electronic health records, social media, the internet and other digital sources is beginning to use this data to provide more timely information regarding infectious disease threats.

“The ultimate goal is to be able to forecast the size, peak or trajectory of an outbreak weeks or months in advance in order to better respond to infectious disease threats. Integrating big data in surveillance is a first step toward this long-term goal,” says Cecile Viboud, Ph.D., co-editor of the supplement and a senior scientist at the NIH’s Fogarty International Center. “Now that we have demonstrated proof of concept by comparing data sets in high-income countries, we can examine these models in low-resource settings where traditional surveillance is sparse.”

However, there are challenges especially with non-traditional data streams from social media that may lack key demographic identifiers such as age and sex, or provide information that underrepresents certain groups such as infants, children, the elderly and developing countries.

To read more, go to:
https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-led-effort-examines-use-big-data-infectious-disease-surveillance


OSTP RELEASES DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION ACTION GRID

Creating more diversity and inclusiveness especially in the areas of science and technology can foster more effective problem solving than homogeneous groups. Policies in workplaces that promote diversity and inclusion also maximize employee engagement and can spur innovation.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has been collecting information from Federal agencies, companies, investors, and individuals about their science and technology workforces, and has recently released the “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Science and Technology: Action Grid.” OSTP has found that the aforementioned organizations understand the strategic importance of workplace diversity, but do not necessarily understand the steps to achieve their diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Therefore, this grid was created as a resource to point them in the right direction.

These actions include:

  • Increase leadership engagement of senior and mid-level management that involve sponsorships and accountability;
  • Improve the retention and upward mobility of diverse talent;
  • Strengthen pathways for candidates into your workforce through increasing points of entry; and
  • Build external constituencies of support for those leading the charge.

For more information, please visit:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/11/28/raising-floor-sharing-what-works-workplace-diversity-equity-and-inclusion


OSCARS OF INNOVATION AWARDED

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) researchers have won 32 of the 100 awards given out in 2016 by R&D Magazine. The R&D 100 Awards, also known as the “Oscars of Innovation,” are given for exceptional new products or processes that were developed and introduced into the marketplace during the previous year. To win such an award, the technology or process has to be in working and marketable condition as one of its conditions.

Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said, “These awards demonstrate the incredible value that our National Laboratories continue to provide by using basic science to address tough challenges, from cryptography to clean energy, X-ray imaging to environmental remediation.”  For example one winner was Quantum Dot Solar Windows. These windows have roots at the Los Alamos National Laboratory with Italian co-developer, the University of Milano-Bicocca. They are the next generation of light harvesters creating electricity and can provide shading/coloring for a building. The windows also use toxic-element-free quantum-dot materials easily fabricated and processed into devices using inexpensive solution-based methods.

Additional information is available at:
http://energy.gov/articles/us-department-energy-projects-win-32-rd-100-awards-2016

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